July 04, 2012

A Second Sexual Revolution

A second sexual revolution?! Geez wasn’t one enough? Well, no. Certainly, thanks to Kinsey and other pioneering scientists we learned women can orgasm, several times in fact in one setting. We learned there is a spectrum of sexual orientation and gender identity. We learned how ridiculous it was to expect seven billion people to fit into one sexual mould with rigid gender roles. That would be just as unnatural and creepy as the entire world population all having the exact same creative talents or personalities. Most importantly, we began to refine and redefine what was morally acceptable or dysfunctional based on more informed, universal and humane benchmarks instead of asking a religious authority if it made God mad enough to bun we ass in hell.

We lost faith in that old method because it became apparent to many of us that it was a ruse. When it comes to dictating religious standards about sexuality, there is always leniency for the rich and powerful and Draconian measures for the poor and unrepresented. I can understand if you do not see the rat, but even the most avid believer in any organized religion must smell it by now.
So we began asking more important questions: Was the aspect of human sexuality in question harmful to the individual? Was it harmful to society, in particular children? Did it threaten the fundamental human rights (life, liberty, security, property) of anyone else? Suddenly a greater amount of sexual freedom became permissible. Some would argue it was a premature opening of Pandora’s Box. Others would argue it was a jolt back to reality, honesty and natural authenticity. For in their view the world that existed before the Sexual Revolution was unnatural, overly-controlled and detrimental to authentic happiness for many people who could not fit into the narrow gender and sexuality molds.
Fashion sensation Andrej Prejic is in his early twenties…yes I said HIS. He has not had any surgery. This is all him and he is considered one of the most beautiful examples of natural androgyny. He models both male and female clothes. We have thanks to more enlightened perimeters embraced the existence of gender diversity in our natural world. It hurts nobody, poses no threat to society, robs no one of their fundamental human rights.

Many of those who still feel inadequate, wronged, disempowered, scared, uncertain, confounded by human sexuality often hold it and the Revolution in contempt. Some accuse it of untethering us from the beliefs that confined and controlled our inherently fallen, evil-prone sexuality. For them, the training wheels or life-jacket is more important than learning how to master our balance, momentum and steering of our sexual lives. And gain the ability to swim, despite the weight of our animal inclinations and the turbulent sexual waters. They point to the fact that when the Sexual Revolution took off the training wheels and threw us in the deep end, there were casualties. They are right. Marriages ended. More children grew up without any comforting wool pulled over their eyes. Men saw an increase in sexual rejection by women, even by many who were supposed to be grateful for any attention at all. Insecurities and uncertainties increased as did expectations of porn-star-esque bedroom gymnastics. Herpes, HIV, new strains of the clap and chlamydia came out to play!

But it would be also be dishonest to pretend that the Sexual Revolution did not also free and save lives by forcing society to deal with issues like incest, sexual abuse, sexism, violence against women and homophobia.
Gary Ross, Director and Producer of the critically acclaimed movie Pleasantville had this to say about the film, "This movie is about the fact that personal repression gives rise to larger political oppression...That when we're afraid of certain things in ourselves or we're afraid of change, we project those fears on to other things, and a lot of very ugly social situations can develop". In the movie, those who became free of personal repression in the 1950s utopian, black and white television world started to manifest color and certainty gave way to uncertainty but also freedom. What we had before the Sexual Revolution was not the utopia that many social conservatives make it out to be, even if it was less complicated and had more reassurances built into it…like riding with training wheels.

The Sexual Revolution was not perfect and worst of all, when it was not even half-way finished it was co-opted by mercenaries in the corporate world. To put it crudely: We were taught how to fuck better, feel better about fucking, associate more products with fucking, watch people fucking and sing catchy songs about fucking while doing dances that made us want to fuck some more. But we were not sufficiently taught how not to fuck up ourselves, not to fuck up those we love and not to fuck up the planet. It was style without substance. A hard cock without a soul or mind behind it. It was knowledge without power and freedom without responsibility and our priorities became well….fucked.

The darlings of corporate oligarchy, the pharmaceutical companies, tackled erectile dysfunction instead of breast and cervical cancers. Hollywood and the fashion and cosmetics industry promoted unnatural standards of beauty and exploitation of girls and boys as sex-objects as soon as their endochrine system whispered, “puberty” and sometimes even earlier *ick*.
After the Jean Bennet-Ramsey tragedy, what’s to say Toddlers & Tiaras is not the equivalent of Cinemax after eleven…for pedophiles.

Religion continued to exploit our fear, guilt and shame with ex-gay programmes, advocacy against women’s choice; opposition of equal rights for sexual minorities and promotion of Sharia Law. As usual, while there was more severe punitive action against the poor while loopholes were made available for the rich and powerful. It has become so glaring now, we have people like Newt Ginrich speaking about the "sanctity of marriage" while on his third. Meanwhile the plebs beat up their gay teenagers, continue to support a church that allows priests to rape our children, give money to pastors on the down-low and excuse imams advocating for terrorism, domestic abuse of and subjugation of women.

Isn’t the goal of any revolution to bring a greater sense of power to the powerless? Well the Sexual Revolution left us with all kinds of powerlessness the most glaring being: The billions of men who are floundering, grasping, struggling to hold on to self-esteem, sense of purpose and power that for far too long could only be enjoyed at the expense of other people and the planet.
The Revolution is also not complete because we still have billions of women still carrying the yoke for their societies, while being denied the fullest benefits of those societies. The billions of women who can enjoy the fullest benefits of society, but still carry the scars of guilt, ignorance, shame, disempowerment and so sabotage themselves in ways that can still be used to hinder their progress.
The Revolution is yet to reconcile those who wrongly thought sexual freedom and spirituality were incompatible and sacrificed their spirituality for hedonism and are now in their later years hollow and handicapped to address issues pertaining to forgiveness, inner-peace, self-love, purpose, trust, unconditional love and social justice.

The LGBT community who are still suffering under prevailing archaic laws in my Caribbean territory with no end in sight thanks to the cowardice of our elected leaders, apathy of influential gays and lesbians, ignorance of the populace and hypocrisy of the religious community. Our planet which is struggling to keep up with our ridiculous rate of procreation.

Snap your fingers. Seriously, do it. Ten thousand babies were just born. Snap your fingers again, another ten thousand. Two thirds of those babies will be born into poverty, unjust societies and polluted environments. One out three of the girls born will be sexually abused. One out ten sold into slavery. Less than half were born to parents who want them, will do what it takes to love, care and provide for them, let alone raise them with selflessness and all the best knowledge we have on childrearing. Yet, snap your fingers and ten thousand more have been born. They have been born into a world with dwindling resources and harder choices than their parents will ever have to make. No higher mammal on the planet reproduces completely out of sync with its societal needs and natural environment like we do. We are clearly out of balance, misdirected and not fully evolved in this area of our life.

So yes, music videos are raunchier. Women can now be cougars instead of just middle-aged. A Surgeon General actually said that masturbation is good. Pre-marital sex is a prerequisite of finding a committed partner, saving a lot more couples sexual incompatibility catastrophes after a binding contract has been signed in front of family and friends. You do not feel “tarnished” if you have had more than one sexual partner or a child out of wedlock. You can buy birth control without shame in more countries. Women can divorce cheating husbands and get alimony. Underage arranged marriages and female genital mutilation is frowned upon. Women can equally require men to man-scape and manicure, primp and preen to appeal to their discriminating tastes. Gays and lesbians can get married in almost all first world nations. Bravo! I mean it, Bravo!

But in my humble opinion, the ultimate goal of the Sexual Revolution should be (1) Awareness of how to use this sexual knowledge and sexual freedom to achieve a higher state of existence in harmony with our environment and fellowman. (2) Supporting, researching and innovating ways of making the aforementioned a reality.
After all, if we are still so powerless and miserable after our sexual revolution in the West, how do we convince nations across the Atltantic that are in dire need of similar revolution that it is a good thing? That they should allow their women equality and not chop off their clitorises and marry them off to an old man for twelve sheep and a donkey when they are still too young to be fully empowered in their own mind. How can we defend the revolution when religious leaders can still point to unhealed scrapes and sprains, among those who discarded their training wheels and life vests and tried to peddle and swim using their own abilities? We have a long way to go yet. There is still fight in me. What about you?


Rachel Lewis said...

Plenty of fight in me too. But where to start? What to do? It can be so overwhelming.

Jessica said...

Good question Rachel.

I think looking at the macro-picture, you feel overwhelmed. But there is plenty to do on a personal level. Start the fight in your own backyard first.

Here are two simple things I do:

I don't let street sexual harrassment pass. If possible I confront the man doing it and force him to acknowledge he has done something unacceptable, presented himself in a very unflattering light and he should have more respect for himself( He could never disrespect me and I have long stopped considering myself the victim in these situations)and stop acting like a hungry, desperate and disrespectful low class locho and giving all men a bad rap.

The second thing I do, whenever there is casual conversation about sexual issues among co-workers, family, friends, I steer it as best I can to deeper waters beyond the scandal, headlines and expressions of shock or titilation or condemnation. I try to make the people around me think and ask questions.

Once at a family reunion, I caught a bunch of my teenaged male cousins and nephews huddled around talking about girls and sex. As usual, wrong information, wrong terminology, pornographic references and wrong attitudes and assumptions. I intercepted and proceeded to break it down for them honestly. I let them ask me any questions they wanted. I tried to answer without feeling embarrassed. And I hope that today they have a much clearer understanding of women and deeper appreciation for women beyond T&A.

So, start small. Start with your girlfriends and guyfriends, your sons, daughters, neices and nephews.

Rachel Lewis said...

Great ideas, thank you! I will try to be more mindful of these in conversations.